The International War Against Doping: Limiting the Collateral Damage from Strict Liability

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the World Anti-Doping Code are largely considered the model for an effective and well-coordinated antidoping regime. This model has allowed numerous sports and various countries to secure the same rules for domestic and international athletes. Within this regime, strict liability for prohibited substances stands as the “cornerstone.” Strict liability has allowed antidoping officials to prosecute doping violations through an effective testing regime. However, this principle occasionally implicates innocent athletes with no intention of performance enhancement. This Note proposes that WADA modify its criteria for including substances on the Prohibited List and suspend strict liability in certain exceptional cases in order to better serve the policies behind preventing doping in sports. These reforms will allow WADA to continue to serve as the model for combating doping in sports.

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